While I still consider myself an explorer of the photography craft, I admit that I am finding certain aspects that I favor. Perhaps the most obvious is my preference for color photography. I shoot in black and white and understand its appeal. However, the power of color cannot be denied. I first realized this when viewing Craig Blalock’s photography (not hard to come by since he and I live/work in Minnesota) and saw him photograph Lake Superior in a manner I called darkly light. There was a glow to the picture, but the colors were still very dark. I found this aesthetic particularly pleasing and feel it would not have been nearly as evocative in black and white. However, the work of Hugo Jaeger really made me realize the potential of color. Life.com has all of his photographs from his time as Hitler’s photography. The 50th birthday collection and the mythmaking machine collection are so startling because they are in color. The atmosphere becomes more enveloping because the reds can be seen in more vivid tones (especially compared to the deep grays red shades take on in black and white photography). I also feel color is much more suitable for aesthetics that veer more toward the realistic end of the spectrum (where I prefer to spend my time). Allow me to show a couple pictures of Julius (my older cat).
Yes, a good amount of his fur is white, but he is a red cat in outside appearance and “purr”sonality (ba-dum CHING!). While I can catch his expressions pretty well in black and white, he looks much more vibrant and like the kitten he thinks he is when photographed in color. Color also works better for defining lines in a subject, something I noticed when looking for this black and white photo (as many of them turned out softer than I would have liked). In the same vein, color also makes it much easier to see when the lines get too soft. With black and white, it involves more scrutinizing to find those differences. Maybe I like color better because it’s less forgiving and motivates me to fix potential problems in my photography. Or maybe my natural harshness finds its way into my photos, making me crave more realistic portrayals. Regardless, I adore color photography and have enough confidence to say it’s one aspect of my personal style that I can acknowledge has shown itself throughout the years.